WRDA is a critically important piece of legislation with regards to fish habitat projects, as well as to fish hatcheries and other important infrastructure projects. Its passage in both chambers is a positive step before Congress goes into recess. Check out local projects in your area, and find more information on each WRDA version visit each chamber’s committee with jurisdiction: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5303: Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) with a 399 to 25 vote on Wednesday evening. This is the House version of the Senate’s WRDA (S. 2848), and its passage in both chambers means that there will be a reconciliation period to hammer out the differences between the two.
For those that may not be familiar with WRDA, it is a bill that authorizes spending for projects conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These projects can vary between feasibility studies to construction to environmental restoration. Both versions of the bill include an emphasis on natural and nature-based features (NNBF); however, the House version calls for a study on its usage and states that the Secretary “shall ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the use of natural and nature-based features” when carrying out effected projects, while the Senate version simply calls for “recommendations for the demonstration of methodologies for resilience through the use of natural and nature-based infrastructure approaches.” Again, these bills will have to be reconciled, but it is great to see NNBF being featured within each version.